Tips to maximize your home’s heating efficiency
1. Turn down your water heater
Your showers can be warm, but they shouldn’t be scalding. Manually reducing your water heater’s temperature to 120°F (down from the typical 140) can save you up to 11 percent in water heating costs; cutting showers in half can save up to 33 percent, according to the California Energy Commission.
2. Replace your furnace filters
Changing furnace filters isn’t just about clean air: Clogged material can force your unit to work harder, raising energy costs. Be sure to schedule an annual tune up by a professional service technician to make sure your furnace or boiler is operating at optimal efficiency.
3. Maintain your doors and windows
Peeling weather-stripping and ill-fitting doors and windows can let in drafts, allowing your home’s heat to drift outdoors. Replace weather stripping as needed and adjust thresholds so no cold air is getting in through gaps. You can also use plastic window kits to help insulate from leaks.
4. Turn down your thermostat
You’d be surprised at how comfortable you can be with your furnace set at 68 degrees as opposed 70 or 71. While it might mean opting for long sleeves over a t-shirt, you’ll save roughly 5 percent on room heating costs.
5. Close unused vents
Got a guest room you rarely use? Close the vent coming from the furnace. Rooms that don’t need to be heated can be sealed off so the heat gets redirected to occupied parts of the home.
6. Open your drapes and blinds during the day
Sunlight is a free way to warm up a room. Take advantage of the rooms in your home with southern exposure and open blinds and drapes and let the sun do its thing. When the sun sets, close the drapes to retain the heat collected during the day.
7. Check your attic insulation
Attics should have a minimum of 11 inches of fiberglass insulation. Without it, you’re going to lose heat through the upper level of the home. If you haven’t put down insulation, be sure to seal up any cracks in the attic floor first.
8. Turn your bathroom fan off
After taking a hot shower, don’t be so quick to reach for the exhaust fan switch. The humid air from the steam will likely migrate to neighboring areas, warming the air in the process.
9. Utilize your ceiling fan
They’re not just there to keep you cool in the summer. Keeping a fan running clockwise will push the warm air that’s collected near the ceiling back into the room.
10. Grab an electric blanket
With low energy use, electric blankets can allow you to dial down your thermostat even more during the evening.